On 14 June 2018, International law firm Bird & Bird appointed leading Japanese EU data protection and competition law expert, Takeshige (Take) Sugimoto, as a partner in Brussels providing a significant boost to the firm's Privacy & Data Protection practice as well as the firm's Competition & EU Law practice.
Take joins from the Brussels Office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP where he was Of Counsel and advised primarily on EU data protection and EU competition matters.
Take has built a strong reputation as the leading Japanese expert on EU data protection law. He identified the GDPR at an early stage as the next major compliance issue for Japanese companies operating in Europe. He has been advising Japanese companies on GDPR compliance and has spoken and published extensively on this topic in Japan since 2014. When the GDPR was ultimately adopted, nearly all available materials on the GDPR in Japanese carried Take's name.
Take regularly conducts large-scale GDPR compliance projects including data protection audits for high-profile Japanese clients. He also represents clients in their Binding Corporate Rules application to European Data Protection Authorities, advises on third-party data processing agreements, and assists clients in building their global personal data breach response plans and in selecting a data protection officer.
Take also has a longstanding reputation as an EU competition lawyer. His practice includes merger control, cartel investigations (including internal investigations and leniency applications), as well as complaints against competition law violations and counselling. In particular, he has significant experience in representing clients in EU cartel investigations having been involved in the auto parts, bearings, capacitors and car carrier cartel cases. His in depth knowledge of EU and Japanese competition law was endorsed by the Japan Fair Trade Commission whose Competition Policy Research Centre appointed him as a Visiting Researcher from 2016 to 2017 for conducting research on the EU commitment procedure.
Take started his career as a competition lawyer at Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu, one of Japan's leading law firms. After having obtained an LL.M. in the US, passing the NY bar exam and obtaining a further LL.M. in the UK, he joined WilmerHale in Brussels. He initially worked primarily on competition law matters and then started to develop a very successful EU data protection practice.
Joining with Take from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is Aki Kawashima as Counsel. Aki is an EU data protection law expert advising on various issues concerning the GDPR, personal data breaches, enforcement of the rights of data subjects and standard contractual clauses. He also represents clients in their Binding Corporate Rules applications to European Data Protection Authorities.
Anne Federle, Partner and Head of Country in Brussels at Bird & Bird says: "Data protection and competition law have been the most significant growth areas for our Brussels office during the last two years. We are therefore delighted to welcome Take. His expertise will not only help grow our EU data protection and competition offering in Brussels but will also develop and strengthen our relations with Japanese clients."
Ruth Boardman and Ariane Mole co-heads of the International Privacy and Data Protection group at Bird & Bird comment: "Organisations around the world have to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation. Take is renowned for his knowledge of the GDPR and for his extensive experience working with Japanese clients on their compliance programmes. We are looking forward to being able to support Japanese clients on their data protection requirements across the EU and Asia even more effectively."
Take adds: "Bird & Bird's large international network, its leading reputation in data protection and competition law and its broad service offering offers me and Aki the ideal platform to better assist Japanese clients with a presence in Europe. I am very much looking forward to working with my new colleagues in Brussels and around the world."